welcome Drea

It’s been a long time

It has been a really REALLY long time since I’ve posted. And I’ve missed it… a LOT. I probably won’t have much time to post until life stabilizes a bit but I wanted to do a quick  update on where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing!

It all started with selling our house, yay! I loved that house oh so much, I did. But here’s the thing, it was just not the right house for the stage our family is in right now. Three stories and two sets of stairs was rough when I had just one kiddo. I can’t even imagine what I would do now. Especially since the kitchen and living space were on the mid level of the home. Anyhow, we sold the house and had to make quite a few requested repairs. During that process we had to find a home to rent. My hubby fell in love with a neighborhood so we knew where we were going to rent and indeed that’s where we are at. I am already feeling renters remorse due to a few issues in the home and the fact that I can’t decorate like I would my own home. I will talk more about that another time.

Then the next thing I knew it was holidays one after the other! We moved in and Thanksgiving was right around the corner, then of course Christmas, New Years…. all that fun stuff.

Most exciting of all our sweet Drea made her appearance on January 12th! That story will of course be coming soon as well. It’s been 3 weeks and I’m super exhausted but so in love with this new tiny human that we created. I’m very grateful to have my mom here to help me transition through this newborn phase as this has been a bit rough (although better out than in, the pregnancy itself was more exhausting than Drea is!).

I will be taking a break for awhile until the newborn fog has lifted and then I will gradually start back in because it is so fun to have my thoughts recorded and it helps my productivity level as well.

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28 week collage

Dear Future Baby – 28 weeks

How far along: 28 weeks – pardon the pic… I put a little makeup on but didn’t even touch my hair lol. I’ve been avoiding these posts because I haven’t had the energy to get ready. By the next one I may look like I just got out of bed!

Gender: It’s a girl! I still catch myself saying “we are having another boy… I mean girl.” HA! I was really SO sure that we were having a boy.

How I’m feeling: I’m just starting to get heartburn a lot and I remember this from last time. I’m hoping it doesn’t keep me awake like it did with McKenna. I’m super tired but that might also be due to the packing up a 2,000+ sq ft house and keeping a half dozen or so other “balls” in the air.

Highlight this week: The highlight since the time I last updated here was definitely finding out that we are having another sweet little girl. It feels so good to be able to start giving back clothes that we don’t need (we amassed both girl and boy clothes).

Miss anything: I’ve missed drinking a lot more this time for some reason. I’m not really a big drinker to begin with so it doesn’t make much sense. It might have to do with all of the seasonal cocktails I keep seeing! I’m just gonna have to pin ’em and give them a try next year!

Movement: This little girl is definitely active. It makes me wonder what kind of personality she will have and I can’t wait to see her moves on the outside! I have a feeling her and McKenna are gonna be dancing all over the place as soon as she is capable.

Cravings: Give me all the pumpkin! I swear to my husband that my “pregnancy cravings” aren’t exactly cravings. They really tend to be things that I love no matter what, not just when pregnant. This is really no exception. Have you ever tried cookie butter from Trader Joes? Did you know they make a seasonal pumpkin butter?! It’s even better. I’m in love.

Looking forward to: I’m looking forward to being moved into a new home (with a yard!!!) before this baby gets here. I’m feeling incredibly grateful that the sale of our house went so quick and happened so smoothly.

What McKenna says about the baby: Brandon and I have pretty well settled on a first name for this sweet little girl that is joining us in a few short months but McKenna refuses to call her by her name. She says “NO! She’s just my little sister.” We aren’t sure what she means by this but at least she’s consistent?

DFB-28

 

Dear future baby girl,

I was so excited to find out that we are having another little girl. I have no doubt that you are going to have a BIG personality based on the way you move in my tummy and I’m interested to see those moves out here with us!

McKenna is so happy she is having a little sister and tells everyone that she comes in contact with about you and how you are going to be “hers”.  We are moving soon so that we can have a house with a yard for you and your sister and I look forward to holding you and loving on you in our new back yard.

Love, your future Mama

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4 perks to home renting

4 perks to home renting!

We have another guest post from Niki today.  This time about the perks to home renting! I’m really excited for this because…. we sold our house! Our house was on the market for 8 days and we got 3 offers and accepted one on Sunday morning – eeeek! The close date is flexible and they would like to get their hands on our house as soon as they can which means we need to find a rental ASAP! We are looking and put in an application that we hope to hear back soon from. Now I’m getting excited to think about all the perks of home rental while we take our time to decide exactly what and where we want to buy.

Hi, I’m Niki- full time Mama extraordinary to two boys three and under and a lifetime educator. My husband and I operate a small business out of our home, always an adventure with little ones running about! I’m not much for crafting, but I can coax a literate essay out of a 10th grader, make a mean apple pie and pack up a 2,000 sq ft home in less than a week, while balancing a kid on each hip!

So, you’re about to rent a home and you’re wondering what you’re getting into. I’ve owned and rented and feel at peace in the place we’re in now, as happy renters. Three rental homes (and countless lousy college apartments) in, here’s a list of what I wish I knew then that you can know now. Renting comes with some perks that aren’t often talked about.

 Perk 1

Perk 1-  never having to fix ANYTHING. If you find a rental with a great landlord, you’ll never have to lift a hammer or worry about the AC going out. In our current home, we’ve had new custom screens put on all the windows, our garbage disposal replaced, and exterminators and landscapers out. All at no cost to us, and within 24 hours of need arising. We have an amazing landlord and searched to find him. it makes all the difference, but getting it down in the lease and making sure you’re on the same page before signing is SO important. Plus, many landlords will give you sweet perks if you want to renew when a lease is up, like free carpet cleaning. Also, landlords can be talked into sweet little extras, like paying for the air and water filters. It sounds silly, but not having to pay for those is oddly satisfying.

 perk 2

Perk 2- Extra money doesn’t go to the house. When we owned a home, it felt like we were always saving up for something for the house- whether it was improving the pool, the yard, or redecorating. That doesn’t happen here. Extra time and money now goes to fun stuff, like our kids or date nights.  

 perk 3

Perk 3- choose your own adventure. Renting is fun because you get to try on neighborhoods and the idea of being somewhere. Renting affords you the adventure of trying somewhere new on for size. Interested in a new family friendly neighborhood, but not sure if the area is right? Rent, and if you don’t like it, you can move on, you love it, put a ring on it and renew the lease. Renting is like dating- you can decide how much of a commitment to make. Also, you get the luxury of portability. Home ownership is tough in that you’re stuck somewhere, but renting offers the flexibility of going ANYWHERE. Yes, you sign a lease, but you get to decide how long and it’s a hell of a lot easier to get out of a lease than a mortgage if need be- believe me, I speak from experience!

 perk 4

Perk 4-  This may seem silly, but I love it- the “I’m a renter” excuse. Walk past the cable guy at Costco, trying to get you to sign up, the landscaper knocking at the door, begging for business, the telemarketers trying to sell you on home phone. Maybe it’s just me, but I hate being mean to these people, but I can now genuinely say, I rent, I can’t deal with those decisions and I’m honestly shutting them down.

tips for home renting

How to find the right rental home

My dear friend Niki offered to share some of her wisdom about renting! Since we are thinking that renting will be our best move after we sell our home, I’m soaking up all of the information that she has. To start she is sharing how to find the right rental home to fit your needs, and next time she will share some of the little known perks that come with home renting! Take it away Niki!

 

Hi, I’m Niki- full time Mama extraordinary to two boys three and under and a lifetime educator. My husband and I operate a small business out of our home, always an adventure with little ones running about! I’m not much for crafting, but I can coax a literate essay out of a 10th grader, make a mean apple pie and pack up a 2,000 sq ft home in less than a week, while balancing a kid on each hip!

 

So, how to find the right rental for you or your family?

non-negotiable

First- decide on your non-negotiables and start looking at least a few months before you even want to start really looking.  Are you set on a certain area, a specific price range or a length of lease that you can’t budge on? Before you even start looking at houses, figure out what CANNOT change and then build your search from there.

trulia

The more flexible you can be, the more options you’ll have, but that can get overwhelming. So, play around on rental websites for a bit and see what’s out there. I personally like Trulia.com for window shopping, It lets me look at areas by maps and see what I can get for my monthly budget in different areas.  If schools are important to you, use Greatschools.net and stalk the heck out of the neighborhood schools, look in the districts you love for a house.  Look at different styles of homes and decide what you enjoy.

budget

 

Next- once you know a general area you like and a style of house you’re all about, start budgeting. Renting can be a bit pricey in the beginning. Figure in costs. Most landlords wanted a security deposit and at least one month’s rent up front. There’s also typically earnest money of at least a few hundred bucks to take the house off the market and and application fees of 25-100 dollars per adult applicant.

Moving costs can be pricey as well, so figure that into your budget. My best advice is put aside three months’ rent for your move in cost before you start looking. This takes the pressure off of you and gives you more flexibility in where you can move. Also, and we’ve done this- consider lump sums. Maybe you want a house, but think the landlord is asking a bit much for it. We’ve talked rent down by paying quarterly instead of monthly. Many landlords will take less for it total if you’ll pay a few months at a time. It gives you some bargaining power.

Ok, so you’ve got an idea of what you want and you’ve saved up some funds- the best advice I can give you as a renter is to find a realtor. I know this seems counter-intuitive, because it’s not like you’re selling, but a realtor can be your best friend in the renting process. They’ll set up viewings for you so you can see multiple homes in one day.

Without a realtor, you have to play phone tag with the landlords or the owners’ agents just to get in the door. You can easily spend a week trying to get someone on the phone to let you go tour the place, why not let a realtor do that for you? Also, landlords take you a lot more seriously with an agent.  To find a great realtor, ask around- see who your friends have used or even search online. 

 

Many landlords will allow you to move in fairly quickly, as they don’t like to have their home unoccupied. See if you can get your new lease to start a bit before your current situation ends. I’ve had it work out that I had weeks to move so there wasn’t any stress to get out and was able to move and clean up the old place leisurely.

redocorate

Ask about redecorating, if you like doing it, it can be worked in. Some landlords will let you repaint as long as you’re willing to paint back. My home now actually has walls painted in colors that I really like- grey on some, buttercup on others. It was something that set the house apart in my mind and made it feel different than other rentals. Also, see what you can work out with landscaping and bug spraying. These are essential in Arizona and many landlords are willing to throw them in for free so you don’t even have to think about it.


Renting can be fun and make your life easier. If you do your research in the beginning and set yourself up to be in a great situation from the beginning, it can make all the difference in the long run.

 

 

Thanks Niki! I have learned so much and I feel a lot more comfortable with the prospect of home renting thanks to your sage advice. Also, there are a lot of really great bloggers that rent and talk about how they update their home without making permanent changes. I’m already soaking up a bunch of inspiration since I know I will want to decorate to some extent. 

 

playroom panic header

Playroom Panic 

I’m not proud of this…. And I can’t believe I’m putting these pictures on the Internet. You’re gonna be looking at one messy playroom here in a minute. This is what McKenna’s playroom looked like last week:

playroom before

Now I did immediately clean up and figure out some better placement directly after snapping those pics BUT STILL! Part of the problem is that we never found a great layout nor have we made good systems that allow for easy clean up.

I have a mighty big job ahead of me here so I’m gonna take a moment to share what my plans are (although they will change along the way I’m sure).

In no particular order:

  • Move play kitchen to play room
  • Sort through EVERYTHING in the playroom
  • Donate half (eek!) of what’s in the room
  • Organize all remaining toys
  • Label, label, label
  • Add some flair to the plain rug
  • Fill holes and touch up paint (my least favorite of all)
  • Figure out a solution to block some or all of the library shelf to help the room appear tidier than it is. I may also paint it white… We shall see.
  • Make a clean up sign to remind McKenna of the need to clean up
  • Find places for the baby stuff that I’m getting back from friends that I loaned them to
  • Add homemade art and hang some existing art

I don’t know how quickly this is going to get completed but I’m hoping it will be somewhat soon. McKenna loves having a dedicated playroom and I would feel way better if it was a clean and organized playroom. I’m going to have to work on the room in pieces when I get any bit of energy. I’m in the middle of so many projects but I’m waiting on something or someone for each of them so I will continue to keep these juggled balls in the air for now!

 

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old command center

Dreaming and Scheming – Command Center

Our command center DID work for us… for awhile. But as you can see, it doesn’t work for us at all now.

What worked:

  • I loved having pens, markers, etc in the little basket on the hook
  • I had detailed lists of things to do, calendar items and other pertinent info on our roll of paper.

What didn’t work:

  • Because the paper was just a big blank space it required that I prepare it every time and well… I’m lazy – so that didn’t happen. That’s why it has since become an empty sheet of paper.
  • We always have miscellaneous papers and business cards on the magnetic strip that don’t look purposeful. It’s incredibly sad looking.
  • AND the worst part is that I’m losing stuff (not to mention my mind), forgetting appointments, and I’m generally cranky when things are crazy like this.

It was time to make a change. I started looking around the beautiful interwebs for ideas and here are a few things that I found that I might just be able to incorporate into my command center area.

command center ideas

1/2/3/4

1. I love the clipboards in the first image. I think they are beautiful and functional – plus I already have a bunch so it’s free!

2. I really like how papers are corralled by that bar and it still looks nice and put together.

3. The pic is a little distorted but this is probably my favorite! It is a mail station that Damask Love made with Home Depot. I didn’t see any instructions so I will have to play around to figure it out if I decide to do it. I have a lot of the stuff I would need from an old IKEA piece so I may try that soon. It would be really nice to have an area to sort through mail right away and then I can close it right up so that the mess isn’t seen.

4. Oh Vintage Revivals, how I love you. Mandi comes up with the most unique and useful ideas for her home. I absolutely love this calendar. My SIL recently made it which gave me the confidence I need to make one for myself. I may adjust it slightly for our needs but this is definitely happening. I have got to stop double booking myself.

I can’t wait to get my command center under control and make my life a little easier as well. Once I get it fixed up I will be sure to show ya’ll!

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twoduvetsonebed

I don’t share well… the covers that is!

via Apartment Therapy

I don’t know about you guys but I’m no good at sharing the covers (or dessert but that’s a whole other story). Now why am I telling you this? Well, we are upgrading to a king size bed soon and I’m starting to look at bed linens and it might be weird but I’m leaning towards getting two twin sized down comforters and duvets instead of one king size.

If you look at the article from which I took the header image you will see that I’m not alone! It’s apparently a common thing in Scandinavian countries! I’m gonna put the blame squarely on my heritage now since I’m Swedish and Danish.

There are a couple of factors at play here. The first I already mentioned…. I’m no good at sharing. The second is I hate making the bed. I’ve read a bunch of the studies about how making your bed affects your productivity, blah blah blah… I just don’t care. Let me rephrase… I must not care enough. It ranks low on my list of things that need to be done. In fact, the other day I tried to make the bed. Do you know what happened? It tried to suck my pregnant self in and wanted me to stay all day! Anyhow, now I’m looking at options and I think if I find a solid or a small pattern for the duvets it could look ok. I may be trying to just make myself believe that but either way I’m pretty sure it’s gonna happen.

Here are a couple of options from ikea that I have considered:

 nyponros-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-assorted-colors__0109179_PE258860_S4

ikea

alvine-stra-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-white__0150800_PE308877_S4

ikea

 

stockholm-duvet-cover-and-pillowcase-s-beige__0390421_PE337616_S4

ikea

 

I think I’m leaning towards the blue and white stripes. Any suggestions? I’m open 🙂

Yoda

Do or do not…

“Do or do not there is not try.” –Yoda

 

We’ve all heard this quote and I’m particularly fond of it! So why is my blog about TRYing to DIY? Well I consider trying to be the short period of time before it (whatever IT is) is done. Then it’s a matter of figuring out whether or not your “try” was a failure or a success.

I have struggled for a lot of my life with the disease of wanting to be perfect. Now of course there isn’t a soul out there who is perfect but there are a lot of people out there who want to be perfect, amiright? Well, I have been making a huge effort to stop worrying about the end result. Life is about trying things out and seeing what works for each of us individually.

I have a vast amount of interests. Am I good at all of them? Nooope. Have I found some things that I can rock pretty well? Yup! I’ve let go of the need to be perfect (in most cases) and I’ve realized that I really enjoy the process of simply trying things out.

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m not here to impress others. I’m here to have some fun trying new things and to inspire others to get out there and do the same. It’s a big, bright world out there and I’m here to enjoy it! Come along with me and if there is ever anything you want to try, lemme know! I’ll try it with ya and share here.

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New Wrap

Foil and Saran Wrap for days

Supplies:

Small dowel

Clothing rod side brackets

Poster board

Colored masking tape

Clear command hooks

Elastic (to hold the wraps and bags in)

Bekvam spice rack

When I can’t find an answer to my organization and or style needs I turn to DIY and crank up the imagination. Of course I look at Pinterest and even Amazon for some inspiration.

So here is what I needed: I was desperate for a solution to organize our many food wraps (foil, wax, Saran, storage bags, etc), but nothing that I found commercially fit all of my needs:

* space saving
* no chaotic mess
* a uniform place to cut all of my wraps

I started off by taking all of my wraps out of their boxes. This was mostly done before I could even think of the consequences because I was so annoyed with how ugly and bulky those boxes were. Once I emptied them I found that my plastic wrap from Costco had a separate cutter in it that could clip over the existing wrap cutter.

IMG_5104_2

I tested it on all of my wraps and it worked like a charm – score! This got me thinking that I could make something to fit my needs.

First I had to come up with something to store all of my wraps and bags and then another place to cut them. Since I could cut them all with this new piece I was finally able to throw those crappy boxes away! (Well I saved one for another project I will show you soon)

Anyhow, I came up with a solution that works great but it’s not very pretty… yet. I’m gonna work on that next. I took the most sturdy box and I used that to store all of my wraps vertically in a cupboard just above where I hung my wrap station. Then I used some small command hooks and elastic to wrangle everything into place. This is mostly working… except that life happened and people (myself included) put stuff in front of it so that it isn’t as accessible as I would like. I’m going to work on this part when I beautify the box for the wrap storage. Here is a pic… it’s horror movie status right now…

IMG_5960_2

On to happier things! The wrap and foil cutter!

This was easier than I thought it would be. I started with the IKEA Bekvam spice rack that has been used in a million different ways.

bekvam-spice-rack

In order to attach the foil/wrap cutter I cut 3 same size pieces of poster board to gain some thickness and used some colored masking tape to attach them together. Then I taped these pieces to the front of the Bekvam and added the wrap cutter. After that I screwed a pair of curtain rod holders to the inside of the Bekvam (this is where the foil and wraps will be held) and used a dowel that I had cut to size at Home Depot. It holds everything very nicely and now I just need to hang it on the wall to get it off the counter!

 IMG_5958_2

Again, this is working in a practical sense for us… However, I’m not liking the way the poster board and masking tape makes it look a little chintzy. I think that I’m going to try balsa wood or another thin wood in my next iteration. That way I can use wood glue to secure it and I might just paint it.

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1st diy

DIY’d and gone to heaven – Fresh flowers!

 

Via Etsy

Skill level: Beginner

Tools required: Power drill, pen for marking, paint (if using)

Time required: 30 minutes, plus paint drying time 

Thrifty? It was for me! I had everything on hand from the mirrors, to the leather and all of the tools. #hoarder #notaminimalist

Why I love it! Let me count the ways…. Anything geometric has my heart first of all. Plus it’s got all of these beautiful natural elements. Wood, leather, FLOWERS! I also really enjoy the use of mason jars in this look.

How’d it turn out? When I saw the inspiration piece I immediately thought of those little square mirrors that IKEA sells. I just looked them up and they are called Malma.  I personally love the way that my DIY of this project turned out.  My reproduction isn’t exactly like the inspiration, but it was definitely a starting off point. Then I made it fit me better. It also fills a space that I’ve been trying to complete for awhile. That always makes me happy.

Some words of wisdom… Don’t be like me and change your mind 10 times about what you want 😛 At first, I wanted 4 pieces like the inspiration. Then I decided 3 would  look like an arrow, so of course I went with that. I was going to paint them all funky colors, but then I decided that I would get sick of it. I also went back and forth about which leathers to use. Besides the changing of my mind, the project was actually really easy. I drilled a few holes for where I wanted to tie the leather through. Painted one of the mirrors. Bing, bang, boom. Easy peasy.

Resource:  I went through 3 sites that had this posted, but after some searching it looks like it belongs to this Etsy site that is currently closed down.

End result 

IMG_5874

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